“You can observe a lot by watching,” Yogi Berra

Peady’s Selling Engagement sponsored by IRD Prospector

‘Last week the legendary New York Yankees baseball player, coach and manager Yogi Berra (below left) passed away. Yogi was also famous for his quotes many of which he claimed were wrongly attributed to him, including:

  • “I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopaedia. Let them walk to school like I did”
  • “He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious”
  • “When you come to a fork in the road take it”
  • “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six”

Observe by watching

One quote he did accept as his was “You can observe a lot by watching.” I like that one because watching or observing is vital to selling success.

Being sensitive to watching the body language of current and prospective customers is an important skill for salespeople to use in selling opportunities.

Body language plays an important part in every interaction. If you’re not observing it, you may have little idea how your customer is receiving your proposal or presentation.

It will help know when to close, when to give more information and when to shut up. If you can improve your own body language and learn how to read your buyers’, it will also help you make more sales and tell you when to get out the door.

What are some of the key signals to watch for?

Look for positive signals like nods or tiny “no” movements, in particular the negative folded arm gesture. Unless you pick up on these you might miss an opportunity or not realise it’s time to back off and rebuild rapport.

Open-hand gestures show someone is talking honestly to you. A palm down gesture is when they are being more controlling. Look to see if they are drumming their fingers indicating that they’re bored or frustrated.

Sometimes people give off buying signals by leaning forwards or picking up their pen.

How about your body language?

Try mirroring. That’s reflecting back the body language of your customer. It often gets them to relax even if they’re raising objections. Mirroring can demonstrate you are trying to reach a solution.

The easiest thing to mirror is posture, but mirroring breathing and blinking rates is also possible.

If you want to learn more about body language the best place to start is with Allan & Barbara Pease in my opinion the “king and queen” of these communications!

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.
He can be contacted at [email protected]


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